Historic Bill Move to End Primate Experiments
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Historic Bill Move to End Primate Experiments

 April 2007

The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) and Animal Defenders International (ADI) applaud the news that Ireland could become the first European country in the world to ban laboratory experiments on monkeys, after a long-running campaign in the EU.

The news of this important step comes as Europe gears up to review animal testing rules including a possible ban on primate experiments (EU Directive 86/609).

The proposed primate test ban appears in “Restriction on Animal Testing Bill 2007”, a Private Member’s Bill proposed this month by Green Dail Member (MP) Eamon Ryan. This states: “The Minister for Health and Children shall within six months of the passing of this Act introduce regulations prohibiting all experimentation on non-human primates for commercial or medical purposes”.

ADI’s ‘My Mate’s a Primate’ campaign (launched in 2005) stunned many MEPs and others when it highlighted all the evidence of the similarities between humans and other primates. Although other primates have been shown to have culture, use tools, have language, and some have learned to communicate with humans in American Sign Language, thousands of them are still used in Europe’s laboratories every year.

Three months after the launch of this unique campaign, animal protection groups in Europe signed the Berlin Declaration, calling on governments to end the use of primates in laboratories. The Berlin Declaration is now backed by over 70 animal protection groups.

On International Primate Day last year, ADI teamed up with Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) and the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society (IAVS) with a vigil in Dublin, calling on the Irish Government to ban primate testing.

A new report from NAVS/ADI, called ‘Primate Nations’ was sent to all MEPs and national government officials, criticizing tests conducted on primates and importantly, describing the alternatives. 88 Euro MPs subsequently pledged their support for a Written Declaration put before the European Parliament calling for an end to all primate experiments in EU. A follow-up Declaration has been lodged for the spring session.

Jan Creamer, CEO of ADI, said: "The unprecedented level of support from MEPs and MPs, shows that like the public, they are tiring of excuses on animal experimentation, they want to see real progress to end this suffering. There is no need to make primates suffer in laboratories, there are better ways of carrying out research. It is known that primates suffer terribly in the confinement of the laboratory, and that results from monkey tests are not reliable for people. Modern non-animal techniques are the way forward.”

Public support for a ban in the EU is also overwhelming, as more than 80% of respondents to the 2006 EU Commission’s public consultation on animals in experiments considered the use of primates in experiments as not acceptable.

Yet more than 10,000 primates are used in experiments every year in EU laboratories, and even worse, primates are still being taken from the wild for this trade – yet 26% of primate species are in danger of extinction.

Next month, April, will be World Lab Animal Month and the NAVS and ADI will be instigating a massive push in Europe and the USA to end primate experiments.

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